Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer


“I would do a great many things for you.”

Even at sixteen, Jake’s handsome features hold the calm certainty and patient confidence of a man, and Rachel Bender knows–Jake Weaver is the one.

Rachel will grow into a strong young woman with powerful gifts—but in a faraway country, without her Jake. In 1921, Ohio’s new law forces Caleb Bender’s family to seek sanctuary in the wilds of Mexico where the government will not interfere with their Amish way of life, or take their children from them. Nor will it protect them from the bandits terrorizing the countryside.

In an unfamiliar land where no one speaks their language or knows their ways, the Benders establish a homestead in exile. Sisters Emma, Rachel, and Miriam find strengths unimagined, gifts unexpected, and yearning beyond their deepest dreams. Even steadfast Caleb is compelled to wrestle with the demands of faith, only to discover that love has its own demands.

My take:~

Each of Dale Cramer’s previous novels have enthralled me. Sutter’s Cross, Summer of Light, Bad Ground and Levi’s Will all sit proudly on my shelves and are testament to Dale’s talent as a wordsmith and storyteller. As Amish fiction is rarely on my reading radar, it was Dale’s name alone that had me highly anticipating the first book in The Daughters of Caleb Bender series, Paradise Valley, and he did not disappoint. Beautifully rendered and historically detailed, Caleb Bender’s journey to Mexico in search of religious freedom for his family is an emotive, adventurous and engrossing read. Dale creates believable and heartfelt characters, brimming with life and emotional nuances that raise the bar in this genre. Caleb, Rachel and Miriam’s unique personalities unfold as the pages turn and I can’t wait to see where Dale takes them in the following stories. Domingo is another character that enthralled me and the opportunity for conflict and immeasurable grace in his journey are tantalising. Others may argue with me but in my mind Dale Cramer is the premier writer of Amish fiction today as his appeal extends beyond genre boundaries and his books should be read by anyone who is captivated by brilliant and engaging storytelling.

With thanks to Bethany House for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Summer of Light

Interview with Dale ~ 2007

Visit Dale’s website and blog

Buy Dale’s books at Amazon and Koorong

Stay tuned for my new interview with Dale….

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6 Responses to Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer

  1. Totally agree! Great review! :)

  2. I'm going to need to read this book. I could never get into his other books. I've heard good reviews on this one.

  3. Very thoughtful review, Rel, and I completely agree. You will not be disappointed in the second book either!

  4. Always good to hear that, Carole :)

    SC ~ it is well worth the read.

    Hey Amy ~ love it when you drop by, my friend!

  5. Rel, Domingo is a main character in the second book – which is good, as I fell in love with him in Dale's first book.

    You made an excellent point in that his writing goes beyond the
    Amish boundaries. I remember reading Sutter's Cross several years ago and highlighting so many descriptive phrases. Dale is excellent at visualization and characterization, in my opinion. I'm glad he's writing for the Christian market again.

  6. Gill - That British Woman

    I loved this book when I read and reviewed it, however thought it was a bit slow prior to them leaving for Mexico.

    Can't wait for the next one.

    Gill in Canada

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